Archive | July, 2008


28 Jul

Yesterday I took my two youngest daughters to a shopping mall that’s a short train ride from our home because they wanted to buy some things that they “really needed“.

I agreed to take them…but only for a short time because it looked like it would rain. And when we left the mall, that’s what it did. Really hard!

First there was thunder and lightning, then the rain came pouring down. But it was a summer shower…so it ended soon after it started.

Actually, we got lucky. It started raining soon after we boarded our train home, and stopped just before we got off the train. So we didn’t have to walk in the rain at all. Perfect timing!

Anyways, there are many summer festivals and fireworks shows in Japan this time of year. And many people wear 浴衣 (Japanese summer kimono) and 甚平 (Japanese traditional summer outfit) to these events.

At the mall, we saw a couple of girls who were probably going to a festival or fireworks show after the mall (it might have gotten rained out, though). I saw them browsing in a CD store.

It seemed like it’d make a good photo. So here’s the photo I took of them:

Here are some videos I took of the train ride while looking out the conductor’s window (a couple of them are from the ride home, so it’s raining hard):


26 Jul

Last Thursday (July 24), was 土用の丑 (Do-yo-u-no-ushi (“Day of the Ox”)).

This is a day in Summer that people are meant to eat うなぎ (Freshwater eel). Eating うなぎ (Freshwater eel) is said to give you stamina to stand the hot summer days.

I think うなぎ (Freshwater eel) is delicious…but we didn’t eat it on 土用の丑 (Do-yo-u-no-ushi ) this year.


東京 (Tokyo) was voted the 2nd most expensive city in the world (behind Moscow).

I can’t see it. I don’t think Tokyo’s at all as expensive as it’s said to be.

We visited America four years ago and many things seemed expensive there! Gasoline is cheap in America (even if the price is rising these days…it’s still less expensive in America than many other countries), but restaurants, souvenirs and amusement parks all seemed expensive in America—and alot of services require tipping there (there’s no tipping in Japan…but the quality of products and services is high here).

Just a few things…

25 Jul

Just a few random items…

  • My second daughter will return home this evening from her 林間学校 (field trip) to 新潟 (Niigata). 🙂
  • A couple days ago, there was another big 地震 (earthquake) in 岩手県 (Iwate Prefecture)…the same area that had a big earthquake last month (you can read my post about that earthquake here).
  • A few more people have agreed to do interviews for my site. I’ll post them as soon as I get their responses to my questions.
  • Did you notice that anytime you see 漢字 (Japanese kanji characters) on my site, if you hover your mouse over it, the ふりがな (kana characters that show the proper reading of kanji) appears? Does this help you?
  • What are you favorite places, events, things to do in the Tokyo area? Just wondering.


22 Jul

Tomorrow morning, my second daughter will leave with her school class for their 林間学校 (“Country school” “Camping school“ ”field trip”) in 新潟 (Niigata).

I’m not sure what to call 林間学校 in English. It translates to “Camp school”…but that’s not exactly what it is.

林間学校 is pronounced “Rinkan-gakkou” and is a three-day trip to the countryside by kids who live in the city, to let them experience country living. Japanese country living, of course.

She’s real excited about this trip. Her older sister did the same trip last year, and her younger sister will do it in 2010. (Older sister’s class took a 3-day 修学旅行 (school trip) to 京都 (Kyoto) this year…and this winter, youngest sister will go to 新潟 (Niigata) also—but for snow-skiing).

On this trip, from tomorrow until Friday, she and one of her classmates will stay in a local family’s house, learn to make something by hand from a local tradesman, and do some hiking.

When I was a kid, the schools I attended in America never had any field trips like this.

It’s a good experience.

Of course, though, whenever my kids are away from home, I can’t relax until they come back safe!


21 Jul

I added my first interview that I conducted with Fred Bensi via email.

“Who’s Fred Bensi?” you ask?

Click here to visit my Interviews page and learn!

Japan is the coolest place on earth…
[Fred Bensi]

“Star Wars Celebration Japan” (post #2)

21 Jul

Yesterday I went to the 幕張メッセ (Makuhari Messe Convention Hall) in 千葉県 (Chiba Prefecture) for the Star Wars Celebration Japan.

Star Wars Celebration Japan poster.

This event was to mark the 30th anniversary of the premiere of the first Star Wars movie in Japan in 1978.

Last week, I wrote a post about this convention.

You can read that post here.

I didn’t have tickets for the “Star Wars Celebration Japan“…but I wanted to take some photos outside the venue for my friend who is a big Star Wars fan, but was unable to attend this event.

But, there wasn’t much outside the venue to photograph (inside the venue was a different story, I’m sure).

Anyways, here are the photos I took of the 2008 Star Wars Celebration Japan:

Darth Vader

Stormtrooper and a fan.

Stormtrooper with more fans

Another shot of him

And I took four videos and uploaded them to my YouTube Page.

Like I mentioned though, there wasn’t alot for me to film since I wasn’t able to go inside the venue.

That said, here are my videos of the Star Wars Celebration Japan:


After I left there, I met up with my wife and daughters and we went to watch the movie ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (千年呪い歌)」 (Ge-Ge-Ge-No-Kitarou (1000 Year Cursed Song)).

「ゲゲゲの鬼太郎」 movie poster

It was a pretty good movie. I liked the first ゲゲゲの鬼太郎」 (Ge-Ge-Ge-No-Kitarou ) movie better though…but this sequel was still good.

One main difference between 映画館 (movie theaters) in Japan and those in America is that it’s perfectly acceptable to bring your own food and drinks into the theaters in Japan (rather than being forced to buy something at their snack counter).

(Another difference is the things that are sold at the counters in the theaters….in movie theaters in Japan, the snack counters sell programs and souvenirs for the movie, as well as sandwiches and beer (in addition to popcorn and cola)).

Anyways, we bought our food at a supermarket near the theater and carried it in.

We had 寿司 (sushi) and beer (the kids didn’t drink beer, of course! They had お茶 (Japanese green tea)).

寿司 (Sushi) in a supermarket


20 Jul

Today is the first day of my kids’ 夏休み (Summer vacation). They don’t have school again til September 1st!

(But unlike in America, in Japan—the new school doesn’t start after summer holidays. So my kids will be in the same grades until April (which is the start of the school year in Japan)).

Today we’re gonna go watch the 「ゲゲゲの鬼太郎」の映画 (“Ge-Ge-Ge No Kitarou” movie).

(I mentioned this movie is this previous post here. )


In the news, I heard that an Australian rent-a-car business painted “Save a whale…harpoon a Jap!” on one of their vehicles.

That’s out of line, in my opinion. Even if they’re opposed to Japan’s whaling practices.

I found a picture of the vehicle online. This is it:

Why would someone…especially a company, think that it’s alright to write derogatory remarks about other people?

I considered writing my opinion on whaling on this post…but decided against it. I’m not trying to start a controversial website.


17 Jul

The day before yesterday, I had to go up to Saitama for a few hours.

Do you know what station this lion statue is near?

Here’s a short video I took of a Game Center (video game arcade) in Saitama:

And here’s a video I took while walking into the train station:

And this is on the platform, waiting for the train:


Then, that evening, I met my family at the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) for the annual みたま祭 (Mitama Festival).

This festival takes place during お盆 (O-bon) (click here to read my FAQ about O-bon). Most of Japan has Obon in August…but it’s often celebrated in July in Tokyo.

Here’s a video of the outside of the Haunted House attraction at the Mitama Festival:

And all around Japan during the summer there are many festivals big and small that have 盆踊り (Bon Dancing) to remember the deceased. Here’s a video of the Bon Dance at the Mitama Festival:

青森県 (Aomori Prefecture) in Northern Japan has a cool festival called ねぶた祭り (Nebuta Festival).

At the Mitama Festival in Tokyo, a group of Nebuta Festival dancers come and do a show.
Here are two videos that I took of them:

Finally, here’s a slideshow that I made of some photos I took at the festival:

[rockyou id=117870646]


13 Jul

I just tried making a slideshow with “RockYou Photosharing” of some photos I took around 上野 (Ueno) and 渋谷 (Shibuya).

Here it is (hope it works):

[rockyou id=117813508]

Star Wars Celebration

12 Jul

Next weekend (Friday, July 19 – Monday, July 21 (July 21 is a holiday in Japan (Click here for my FAQ about it)), is the Star Wars Celebration in 千葉県 (Chiba prefecture), Japan.

It’s being held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of the Star Wars movie in Japan.

For this event, Pepsi Cola is giving away small bear toys designed to look like Star Wars characters with purchases of their “NEX Zero Calorie” cola. These bears are made by Be@rbrick.

I’m not much of a cola drinker…especially “zero calorie” cola, but I bought a few bottles just so I could have the Star Wars souvenirs. They might become valuable one day!

I got the Yoda one (even though it’s the ugliest one), as well as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and a Stormtrooper (because I’ve always liked the villains!).

It turns out, though, that the only ones that are exclusive to Japan are “Wicket” and “Paploo“.

I’ve never heard of these characters (I like the Star Wars movies…but I’m not a huge fan), but I’m gonna try to get them both (since they’re “Japan only”)!

My friend from high school is a huge Star Wars fan and wants to come to Japan to attend this event. If he does come to Japan, then I’ll go to the Star Wars Celebration with him…otherwise it’s unlikely that I’ll go.